East Michigan fruit crop update

While cool weather means little fruit crop development so far, growers should be prepared to move quickly when temperatures warm.

Weather

Our season is running about 7 to 10 days behind normal when we look at degree day totals for most of our ag weather reporting stations across east Michigan, and between 3 to 4 weeks behind 2010’s early growing season. We are about one week behind normal when I look at growth stages. With the exception of warm temperatures on Monday morning (April 11), we have had consistent cool to cold morning temperatures for this time of year. This has helped to hold our season back behind normal. Fruit growers are very content with the slow start to the season.

I believe that once we get warmer temperatures, particularly morning temperatures, that things will happen very fast in terms of growth stage development. So be prepared to move quickly.

Our soils remain wet. Rainfall of about 1/8” to ½” over the weekend helped to maintain these moist soil conditions. For the most part soils have been too wet for growers to plant tree or small fruits this season.

Pruning of more sensitive younger apple trees and older peach trees are beginning to take place. Brush chopping is still a job that is awaiting dryer soil conditions at many farms across the region.

Southeast Michigan growing degree day totals
for March 1 to April 12
Location GDD42 GDD45 GDD50
Commerce (Oakland) 69 51 32
Emmett (St Clair) 71 51 31
Flint (Genesee) 81 58 36
Lapeer (Lapeer) 78 57 35
Petersburg (Monroe) 97 71 45
Pigeon (Huron) 58 42 26
Romeo (Macomb) 71 52 32

Tree fruits

Apples continue to move along very slowly this year. Bud swell continues slowly on most varieties, with Idared approaching a silver tip.

Pears are at bud swell. I saw a few pear psylla adults flying yesterday early afternoon. I don’t see anywhere near the numbers that I would normally see at this time of year.

Peach buds are at tight to early bud swell.

Sweet cherry bud swell is continuing. I think that once we get warmer weather, we will begin to see some green tissue on sweet cherries.

Tart cherry bud swell is just beginning.

Plums are mostly at early bud swell.

Small fruits

Strawberries have not seen any new leaf growth yet. I think that this will happen quickly over the next week or so. I have not heard of any strawberries that have had their straw removed. There is no question that we are going to have a much later than normal strawberry harvest this year.

Raspberry bud swell is just beginning for summer red raspberries. I have seen just a very few early canes emerging through the soil for fall red raspberries. There has been extensive winter kill on blackberries this season.

Blueberry bud swell has continued over the last week. They appear to be ready to pop open at any time. I think that we could see some green tissue with one more warm day.

Grape buds remain tight.

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